Having exposed a group of fraudulent spiritualists, investigative journalist Joanna Cross is intrigued by the claims of psychologist Dr Sam Towne that paranormal phenomena do in fact exist. Accepting his challenge to enter into a scientific experiment to 'create' a ghost, Joanna, Sam and six volunteers bring to life 'Adam Wyatt' - a young American living in France after the American War of Independence. Associated with the great minds and mystics at the close of the eighteenth century, he dies tragically in the French Revolution.
The experiment is a great success, with poltergeist activity and disembodied messages all scientifically recorded. Sam's theory appears conclusive - that ghosts are created by the people who see them. But a series of inexplicable and ominous events force Joanna and Sam to realize the ghost they have brought to life can also cause death…
For a scientific experiment in psychokinesis, university psychologist Sam Towne assembles a group of eight individuals who, using the power of their collective consciousness, create a "ghost" with whom they hope to communicate. With ace investigative journalist (and love interest) Joanna Cross on hand to bear witness, the scientific seances at Manhattan University succeed all too well: the entity the group conjures up not only communicates with them but also becomes integral to their lives--and deaths. British author Ambrose (The Man Who Turned into Himself) takes a poor paranormal premise and eventually overcomes it with a ripping good ending. Despite the publisher's play-up of the novel as supernatural suspense and horror, the book is almost science fictional as Ambrose ultimately speculates on a time-travel theory postulating that the past comes out of the present instead of the present emerging from the past. According to Ambrose's acknowledgments, the story is based on "an experiment that actually took place" in the early 1970s. Unfortunately, the author brings neither his almost comically dated fake psychic schemers nor parapsychology into the '90s. But his well-toned technique and winning characterizations carry patient readers along to the core of the story. The plot falters slightly as it falls into a "Don't-open-that-door!" groove and a lot of people suddenly and mysteriously drop dead. Once over the low hurdles, however, Ambrose plays an unflinching mastergame of reality manipulation right through to a chilling checkmate of an ending that is genuinely frightening. Film rights sold to Interscope for $1 million; foreign rights sold in Germany and Holland.